"Hong Kong (CNN) -- For more than two decades, Hong Kong has been the
freest city in China, a status symbolized by two things: regular street
protests, and elections to the city's legislature.
Both are supposedly guaranteed by the one country, two systems policy
that governed Hong Kong following handover from British to Chinese rule
in 1997, making the city the only place in China where vocal opposition
to the Communist Party was protected, or even permitted.
This year, China's leaders took aim at both these rights. In June, in
response to months of increasingly violent anti-government unrest in
2019, Beijing imposed a national security law on the city. The
legislation, which bypassed Hong Kong's semi-democratic parliament,
banned subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign
forces, with severe prison terms for anyone found in breach.
This week, China's leaders provided yet another weapon for clamping down
further on dissent, giving local authorities, led by Chief Executive
Carrie Lam, broad new powers to expel lawmakers they deem unpatriotic
without going through the courts.
Four pro-democracy legislators were swiftly ousted from the city's
parliament on Wednesday in the aftermath of the new directive. They will
be followed by the entirety of the pan-democrat opposition camp, who
announced their decision to resign en masse in protest soon after."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics